By Joyce Mukucha
Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) on the 6th of March 2018 commissioned Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) machine that will be used to diagnose women with pre-cancerous lesions in Gutu.
Gutu is the only rural district in the country that has more than one centre offering cervical cancer screening services.
Previously, women who needed to undergo LEEP procedures were referred to Harare. In responding to this, MSF donated the machine which will help patients in the district to receive treatment closer at home.
In a statement, Dr Abraham Mapfumo said treating patients who needed LEEP in Harare was not cost effective or sustainable. This was because some patients were not able to travel to Harare to receive treatment and it was difficult in as much as follow ups were concerned.
MSF said the organisation believe that no woman should die of cervical cancer since it can be prevented. Dr Severine Caluwaerts, the MSF gynaecologist indicated that if women got screened early they could be protected from developing cervical cancer.
“Women with early stage lesions of the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer who were unable to access treatment due to resource constraints are now to benefit from receiving from receiving treatment near home following the launch of LEEP Services at Gutu Hospital.
“The equipment has been donated without borders to assist communities in need. MSF has also trained doctors at Gutu Rural Hospital to perform LEEP Procedures. Before the launch of LEEP, activities women who had pre-cancerous lesions that covered more than 75 percent of the cervix, were referred to Newlands Clinic in Harare and this was expensive for them,” reads the statement.
The organisation has been also supporting cervical screening using a method called Visual Inspection using Acetic Acid and Cervicography (VIAC) in six clinics and hospitals in Gutu including Gutu rural and mission hospitals.
In 2017, MSF in conjunction with MHoCC provided cervical cancer screening services to 4691 patients in Gutu. Out of these, 53 were eligible for LEEP.
MSF is an international medical humanitarian organisation that has been working in Zimbabwe since 2000. It runs projects in partnership with MoHCC which include treatment and care of people living with HIV, drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB), and non-communicable diseases. Its projects are currently located in Chipinge, Harare, Gutu, Mwenezi and Mutare.